Urban farming has been one of the biggest socio-environmental trends of late. But, so far, it's been a fairly high-commitment, high-maintenance game requiring a demanding amount of time, resources and knowledge. Now, Los Angeles startup Home Grown Micro Farms is offering urbanites the joys of a homegrown garden without most of its demands.
The company offers pre-planted, high-productivity farming boxes of organic produce that promise an involvement level as low as 2 minutes per day. The micro-farms come in a monthly "menu" of 6-9 produce varieties, depending on fruit and vegetable seasonality. Compact and self-watering, the boxes can be installed anywhere with a modicum of sunlight and yield nearly twice the amount of produce per square foot than traditional gardens. They are also fully organic, from seed to soil to fertilizer.
The service is essentially a subscription model, where you order to a vegetable box one season at a time. Each box can sustain and yield produce for up to four months. Once the micro-farm reaches the end of its productivity, the Home Grown team comes and swaps it out for a freshly planted one. A single box costs $25 a month, with volume discounts of up to 40% -- if you order 9 or more boxes together, they only cost $16 each.
While box productivity varies by crop type -- from an average of 200 tomatoes per micro-farm to 4-6 servings of salad per week -- the cost still breaks down to mere cents per day, which, combined with the sheer near-primal joy of growing your own food, more than justifies the investment. Alas, the service is still only available in the Los Angeles area, but the concept is brilliant enough to offer hope for implementation on a larger scale.
Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings, a curated inventory of miscellaneous interestingness. She writes for Wired UK, GOOD Magazine and Huffington Post, and spends a shameful amount of time on Twitter.